Åstrøm AN, Wold B. Socio-behavioural predictors of young adults’ self-reported oral health: 15 years of follow-up in the The Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour study. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2011. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Abstract – Objectives: Few prospective studies have investigated the impacts of socio-behavioural position throughout adolescence on self-reported oral health in young adulthood. This study aimed to describe the development of oral health behaviours between age 15 years (1992) and age 30 years (2007) and to assess how changes in or stability of socio-behavioural characteristics during that period influences the oral impacts on daily performance (OIDP) and satisfaction with teeth assessed at age 30.
Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were included as part of a prospective cohort study. In 1992, a representative sample of 963 15-year-old adolescents participated in the study; 627 (64%) and 532 (55.2%) remained in the study at ages 23 and 30, respectively. A total of 394 (40.9% of baseline sample) participated at ages 15, 23 and 30.
Results: Cochrane’s Q revealed that the proportions of individuals who were frequent performers regarding flossing, intake of nonsugared mineral water and use of snuff increased whereas the proportions who were frequent performers regarding consumption of sugared mineral water decreased in subjects with low and high parental education and in both sexes across the survey period. Smokers increased in males and decreased in females and in subjects with low parental education. Spearman’s rank-order correlation ranged from 0.19 (nonsugared mineral water) to 0.36 (smoking). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that participants with a stable advantaged socio-behavioural position were less likely to report OIDP at age 30. Participants with a stable disadvantaged socio-behavioural position were more likely to report OIDP at age 30. Participants who were stable satisfied with their health and who changed educational status were more likely to be satisfied with their teeth at age 30.
Conclusions: Oral health behaviours tracked moderately from age 15 to 30. Continuity of an advantaged or disadvantaged socio-behavioural position across the survey years contributed to differing levels of oral health. Early and contemporary public health policies that target disadvantaged socio-behavioural groups may help prevent poor oral health perceptions in young adults in Norway.